Baleful twitterings

I recently heard a reading of the Tang Dynesty (8th century) poet Du Fus Ballad of the Army Carts on the radio. Normally Im not a fan of radio poetry, I find it a bit trite, but this was sufficiently moving to make me stop what I was doing and listen. Its a powerful meditation on the endless futility and waste of war and it was impossible not to appreciate the poem’s continued contemporary relevance after all these years. Sadly my musings on this evocative work were rather abruptly punctured by the final line:

The new ghosts complain and the old ghosts weep, and under the grey and dripping sky the air is full of their baleful twitterings.

Somehow that just conjured up all the wrong sort of imagery¦..

Translator (David Hawkes [1967]). A Little Primer of Tu Fu. Oxford University Press. ISBN 962-7255-02-5.

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